George Mastrocostas finds it tricky to outline how he has cultivated a ‘family culture’ at Aniko Group and that’s because it has evolved quite naturally.
“We haven’t specifically tried to foster this culture,” says the founder and Managing Director of the property development firm behind hugely successful Gold Coast projects such as Three72 Marine, Ferry Road Showroom and the upcoming No. 1 Grant Avenue, Hope Island.
“It seems to happen naturally and I think that’s because I grew up in a very traditional Greek-Australian family where I was taught about respect, loyalty and teamwork from a young age. Your belief in those concepts doesn’t change whether you work for a company or are the owner.
“There is no doubt in my mind that every person who works here has contributed to Aniko Group’s success. We would not be where we are today without them and I think they feel an attachment to the company because I not only believe that but tell them so.”
Having spent a decade as the co-founder and managing director of Emandar Group, George launched Aniko Group in 2018 and today leads a team that is committed to delivering innovative ‘next-generation’ living spaces for both their buyers and the community.
More importantly, many of those staff members have been by their boss’s side throughout his journey from a wide-eyed rookie in his first property job on the Gold Coast to owning a high-profile company overseeing developments worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I started in the business quite young and there are a few colleagues at Aniko Group that were in much more senior positions than me back then,” George explains.
“When I was a document controller or building cadet, they were the senior managers or foremen I aspired to be and the fact we are still working together all these years later is wonderful.
“The majority of my staff have been with me more than five years, along with a few for more than a decade, and you grow extremely close working together for that long. You share the highs and the lows so it’s inevitable that you start to feel like a family.
“One of the greatest signs a company can have is low staff turnover and it’s reassuring that our employee retention is outstanding. We rarely need to have farewell parties.”
George says fostering a workplace built on respect, common goals and communication not only makes for a happy environment that allows people to perform to their best but ensures tough conversations can be had when needed.
“Everyone is here for a reason and their opinions are valued,” George says.
“We encourage constructive criticism. I will say ‘Don’t just tell me what I want to hear – challenge me if you think I’m wrong’. I may not like hearing it but, like a family, it’s imperative that everyone has the chance to speak honestly.
“That openness and willing to listen is one of the key reasons people are proud to work for the group and look forward to doing what they do on a daily basis.”
And that goes for the man with ‘Managing Director’ written on his business card.
“When I walk into the office after a holiday or business trip, it’s like coming home,” smiles George, a proud husband and father of three young children.
“When I’m away, it’s not uncommon to receive emails from colleagues saying ‘It’s not the same without you here’. I’m not sure how many founders and managing directors of companies get that feedback from their staff but it makes me feel good.
“The company doesn’t need me here – we have some of the best people in their fields working for us – but it’s nice that they make me feel wanted.”